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  1. #1
    OVER-BOOST!! svono50's Avatar
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    SVO's: 86 1C

    17 years and counting...

    I figured I would start up my own thread on my 86 1C. I will work my way from most recent projects (shifter, steering shaft & wheels) to older as I get time to pull together the project info I have collected over the years.

    I have owned my 86 since September 1991 with 57K miles on the clock and have done a few projects since first opening my toolbox as you can expect. I am now sitting just under 104K miles and still counting on the factory short block, which isn't too bad in my estimation as I haven't always been 'nice' with my right foot. Hope you enjoy.
    Ted
    86 SVO Mustang
    17 Cooper S Clubman ALL4

  2. #2
    OVER-BOOST!! Ford Builder's Avatar
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    654
    SVO's: 1985 loaded, 1C
    Congratulations, this must mean that its fine replacement,I have had good luck with Ford reman replacements.
    1985 SVO 1C -- 2002 Taurus--- 2003 Ranger

  3. #3
    OVER-BOOST!! svono50's Avatar
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    SVO's: 86 1C

    MGW Shifter Install w/Hurst T-handle

    If you have some time to read up on the details, please do. Otherwise the pics show some of the highlights of the install in my 86.
    • You would think this would be a simple bolt-in kind of thing, maybe if it wasn’t in my SVO it would be. The MGW unit is quite a fine piece of machined artwork, it is almost a shame it has to be covered up by the boot. The shifter install was fairly straight forward. I started by unpacking the MGW unit and inner dust boot option and went on to read all the enclosed instructions (no snickering) and just getting familiar with the unit in general. I decided to not use the shifter stops supplied with the unit and go ‘naked’. This was prompted by reading up on some other installs on the ‘net and MGW’s own notes about the fact that if they are not set up properly, you could cause damage to your tranny (i.e.- not allowing full engagement of the gears). Also noted in MGW’s instructions was the fact that the factory unit doesn’t come with stops, so unless you are beating the shifter into gear, the chance of bending a shift fork should not be a concern. I first noted and snapped a couple of pics to show where the factory Hurst short-throw unit had the handle for 1st gear, so I could try and set up the MGW unit to a similar location to start with. I removed the shifter knob, the center console, shifter boot & seal then the factory unit. I then cleaned the shifter mounting surface on the tranny and inspected the nylon cup insert that remained in the tranny. I had replaced the cup a while ago and it still appeared fine with virtually no wear, so back in it went with some fresh grease. I placed a light bead of the supplied RTV silicone on the mounting surface and mounted the shifter with the supplied screws and lock washers. Next on was the inner dust boot (I would recommend this for keeping dust out of the pivot point of the shifter) and on top of that the factory dust boot. Luckily the shifter arm mounting shaft is as long as it is, so the dust boots can sit under the shifter arm, as seen in the attached pics. I then put on the shifter arm and adjusted it position to as close to factory for 1st gear as it will go. Next up was the ‘creative’ or fun part where how do you finish off the shifter boot against the new threaded knob shaft. When I swapped in the Hurst leather wrapped t-handle on my stock shifter, I had to devise a way to clamp or hold the shifter boot in place and have it look somewhat finished. To accomplish that I placed a fender washer over the shaft, then the shifter boot, then a large brass washer, then the non-threaded part of a brass pipe nipple, then a jam nut and on top the shifter handle. It wasn’t the most dazzling solution, but it worked nicely for 10+ years. I decided to try a similar setup on the new handle and after futzing with it for ~1 hour I threw in the towel and walked away till the next evening. I came back and saw a new solution that ended up being what I have on there today. This consisted of installing the MGW supplied rubber grommet into the top opening of the shifter boot to start with. I then threaded on (2) plain SS hex nuts onto the shaft, pushed the rubber grommet over the nuts, placed a hardened flat washer on top of the grommet, placed the re-used brass pipe nipple spacer on top of the washer, threaded the jam nut on next and on top of that went the shifter knob (more on the knob later). Once I got the knob in the right orientation and snugged up with the jam nut, I then snugged the brass spacer against the bottom of the jam nut with the SS nuts and locked everything together. I think I ended up with another clean looking install.

    • Here comes the ‘project’ part of this. My stock shifter had a ½-13 thread for mounting the handle and my Hurst t-handle had an M12 x 1.75 internal thread. My solution, back in the day, was to drill out the M12 thread, grind the hex points off of a ½” hex nut and hammer (i.e.- press fit) it into the aluminum core of the handle. Mind you this worked flawlessly for 10+ years, but I am a bit older, wiser and am not afraid to spend some time and disposable income to find a ‘better’ solution to adapt the handle back to an M12 thread. Where I now work I have access to a decent Tool & Die machine shop and have made friends with the T&D machinists there for situations just like this. I ended up determining that one of the best solutions would be to install a threaded insert into the handle. Knowing my machine shop folks avoid metric threads like the plague I researched and found a Jergens brand threaded insert that had English external threads and Metric internal threads. All I needed to do was drill and tap the handle to match the insert. The drilling went OK, but when we tried to thread the handle it shifted in the vice and we cut into the side of the new hole (DOH!). I then took re-tapped the hole by hand straight into what was left of the hole. The threaded insert has (4) locking barbs that are driven down in after the insert is threaded in to lock it into place. Well, because there was a large chunk of the bore missing, the locking barbs didn’t hold and the handle threaded right off of the insert when I locked the jam nut against the insert…CRAP! JB Weld to the rescue!! I mixed up some of the magic repair elixir, filled in the missing material in the handle core along with around the remaining threads in the bore, threaded in the insert, drove in the locking barbs again and let it set for a couple of days. The insert is now very securely held into the handle and working very nicely indeed.

    • What is amazing is that the MGW shifter’s throws do not appear to be much, if any, shorter than the factory Hurst unit. I didn’t measure the throw distance of the Hurst unit, so I could quantitatively compare it to the MGW unit, so I can’t say if I have a shorter or longer throw. I will need to measure someone else’s factory unit at the Reunion to get some numbers. I can say that the now slightly reward placement of the shifter handle is a nice change, as it is closer to me, which I do like. I have driven in an auto-x and a track day event since the install and haven’t missed a shift, so it does work very smoothly and reliably. One other thing that it does is insulate the transmission noise from the cabin and some vibration from your hand compared to the stock unit with the rubber isolation bushings removed. All-in-all I give this one two thumbs up!!

    Pics include; 1) sexy unit pic, 2) bottom comparison to stock Hurst unit, 3) side comparison, 4) tranny ready for new unit and shifter ball cup insert with arrow and 5) base unit mounted to tranny...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Shifter - MGW_02.jpg   Shifter - Side by Side_02.jpg   Shifter - Side by Side_03.jpg   Shifter - MGW_Install_01.jpg   Shifter - MGW_Install_02.jpg  

    Last edited by svono50; 09-04-2010 at 12:53 AM.
    Ted
    86 SVO Mustang
    17 Cooper S Clubman ALL4

  4. #4
    OVER-BOOST!! svono50's Avatar
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    MGW Shifter Install w/Hurst T-handle #2

    More install pics...1) inner dust boot top view, 2) inner dust boot side view, 3) factory dust boot top view, 4) factory dust boot side view and 5) shifter arm installed top view...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Shifter - MGW_Install_03.jpg   Shifter - MGW_Install_04.jpg   Shifter - MGW_Install_05.jpg   Shifter - MGW_Install_06.jpg   Shifter - MGW_Install_07.jpg  

    Last edited by svono50; 09-04-2010 at 12:55 AM.
    Ted
    86 SVO Mustang
    17 Cooper S Clubman ALL4

  5. #5
    OVER-BOOST!! svono50's Avatar
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    MGW Shifter Install w/Hurst T-handle #3

    More install pics...1) shifter arm installed side view, 2) closeup of lower jam nuts, 3) MGW rubber grommet installed in factory leather boot, 4) rubber grommet placed over lower jam nuts and 5) hardened washer, brass spacer and upper jam nut in place...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Shifter - MGW_Install_08.jpg   Shifter - MGW_Install_09.jpg   Shifter - MGW_Install_10.jpg   Shifter - MGW_Install_11.jpg   Shifter - MGW_Install_12.jpg  

    Last edited by svono50; 09-04-2010 at 12:57 AM.
    Ted
    86 SVO Mustang
    17 Cooper S Clubman ALL4

  6. #6
    OVER-BOOST!! svono50's Avatar
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    MGW Shifter Install w/Hurst T-handle #4

    More install pics...1) T-handle in place and spacer locked in, 2) finished install of new shifter prior to console install, 3) top view of Hurst leather wrapped t-handle knob (slightly worn) and 4) bottom view of t-handle knob showing the Jergens threaded insert...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Shifter - MGW_Install_13.jpg   Shifter - MGW_Install_14.jpg   Knob - Hurst T-handle_01.jpg   Knob - Hurst T-handle_02.jpg  
    Last edited by svono50; 09-04-2010 at 01:00 AM.
    Ted
    86 SVO Mustang
    17 Cooper S Clubman ALL4

  7. #7
    16 PSI Boost SergeantZ's Avatar
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    SVO's: 1985 4E
    Wow, great pictures and super nice SVO! I love the wheels, they match perfectly with the color of the car. I also want to do the solid steering shaft if I end up keeping my car.
    2010 GT500
    1999 Lightning

    1985 4E SVO -- SOLD

  8. #8
    OVER-BOOST!! svono50's Avatar
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    TSW Nurburgring Rim Center Caps

    As I mentioned in my original TSW project, the stock center caps won’t fit over our stock bearing caps on the front wheels. My original solution was to leave them off and just paint the bearing caps to help ‘disguise’ them. From a distance this was OK, but up close it looked pretty unfinished and bothered me. I called TSW and discussed my potential options with a Customer Service tech who was surprisingly familiar with our SVO’s. Unfortunately he could not offer me a solution as they don’t have an offset center cap.

    I searched for an offset center cap that would hopefully fit my TSW wheels. After some searching I came across an SR cap option on the American Muscle website, which is their self-branded wheels, so I ordered up a set. They were chrome as compared to the machined finish of the wheels, but I was willing to see how they would look. As luck would have it, the SR wheels have a slightly smaller center cap hole, so the locking tabs didn’t engage at all on the TSW wheels. Otherwise they were not a bad size/look.

    Seeing the design of the SR center caps helped spark an idea for a custom design. The stock TSW center caps are a two piece design with a plastic locking insert and a logo plate that come unassembled. I came up with the idea to modify the TSW locking insert by cutting out the center to just clear the bearing cap. I then designed a hollow backed spacer, modeled it up in 3D CAD and brought it to the machine shop at work. They agreed to machine up the spacers from some scrap aluminum pieces as a ‘government job’…it helps to be friends with Machinists. I stuck the spacers to the locking inserts with some 3M VHB (Very High Bond) double-sided adhesive tape, similar to what they use on outdoor signs and semi trailers. I then stuck the TSW logo plate onto the spacer to come up with a custom offset center cap. The machined aluminum spacer matches the machined aluminum surface of the wheel and logo cap, so it looks like a factory piece and makes my front wheels now look ‘complete’.

    I have been using these center caps for ~3 years now and they have held up great. They do weigh just a bit more than the stock center caps, so I was a bit concerned if they would stay put. So far street/highway use hasn’t dislodged them and I have even left them in during a couple of auto-x events and few track days without losing one (knock on wood).

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    Ted
    86 SVO Mustang
    17 Cooper S Clubman ALL4

  9. #9
    OVER-BOOST!! svono50's Avatar
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    SVO's: 86 1C

    LED Bulb Upgrade

    Below is a listing of the Superbrightleds.com bulbs that I used to replace the stock incandescent bulbs:

    Tail/brake: 1157 to 1157-R18-T
    3rd brake: 912 to WLED-RHP13-T
    Turn signal (rear): 1156 to 1156-A18-T
    Reverse: 1156 to 1156-CW18-T
    Side marker (rear): 194 to WLED-R5
    License plate: 168 to WLED-W-120
    Inner marker/turn (front): 1157A to 1157-A18-T
    Outer marker/turn (front): 1157A to 1157-A18-T

    I chose the specific 18-LED bulbs listed because of a Youtube video I found that showed the improvement on a 1968 Cougar’s tail lights (http://youtu.be/XUkNCAKwE-g). These LED bulbs have 3 LED’s that fire straight off the end of the stem and 15 LED’s that fire radially out from the stem, the 15 LED’s shine on the reflector surface of the housing and fill the whole lens area to mimic the stock incandescent bulb perfectly. The LED’s also come on much faster than the incandescent bulbs, which during braking should help someone behind you to react a bit quicker and potentially avoid an accident. My incandescent bulbs weren’t bad, but they were far from great. My main goal was daytime visibility along with the quicker speed at which the bulbs lit.

    When you swap LED’s into your turn signal circuit, your stock electro-mechanical turn signal flasher won’t work properly. The electro-mechanical flashers require a certain amount of electrical current to work, since they have a bi-metal spring that heated by that current to activate the on-off function. Some folks add load resistors to their turn signal wires to mimic the incandescent circuit’s current. Personally I don’t like the concept, since another benefit of LED’s is that you reduce your current draw/load of your car, so why reverse that benefit. I simply changed my electro-mechanical flasher for an electronic flasher unit that doesn’t care about the amount of current to operate. I found an electronic flasher from Napa online that was a direct plug-in replacement, it was model “NF EL12L1”. I only had to hook up the flasher’s ground wire to a chassis ground right next to the fuse panel, very easy.

    The bulb installation was straightforward for the twist bulbs, while the wedge-base bulbs needed the contacts modified per the supplied instructions. The modification was just moving the contact wires from one side of the base to the other side, very simple. My friends have commented that the bulbs are not only quicker to come on, but do appear to be brighter and easier to see in daytime conditions, so I feel I have accomplished my goal of this project. The total cost for my project, which included 16 bulbs and 1 flasher unit was ~$240, so it wasn’t a ‘cheap’ upgrade…but if it prevents someone from running into the back of my car it has more than paid for itself.

    For my own home-made video of my lights in action you can go to: http://youtu.be/ScSYDZFP-xQ

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    Ted
    86 SVO Mustang
    17 Cooper S Clubman ALL4

  10. #10
    OVER-BOOST!! gbeaird's Avatar
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    SVO's: '86 2R
    Nice work! I have added LEDs on the interior of our 95/96 GM B-bodys, and really like them. The definite added bonus is the lower heat output of these bulbs. I pulled lights out of the already-melted sockets on several locations of our cars, so protecting them from further heat abuse as the cars age is a big plus. Thanks for posting up the part numbers for this. Expensive, yes, but even if you drive the car only at night, every night of your life, these bulbs _should_ not ever have to be replaced.

    The wheels look great. Just about the best-looking replacement for the stock wheels, IMHO. We'll probably stick with the factory wheels, only getting them re-finished, and opt for something like some CCWs for autocross purposes, should we run the car much any more.

    Your ride looks awesome!
    Gene Beaird,
    86 2R SVO, G Stock,
    Pearland, Texas

  11. #11
    OVER-BOOST!! svono50's Avatar
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    Gene, thanx for the compliments, must appreciated. Funny thing is, I haven't ever replaced anything but a headlight on this car since I picked it up, so longevity of the LED's is almost a moot point, but I get where you are coming from. The Youtube video really shows the reaction time difference between the two bulb styles, where the incandescent never actually goes fully off compared to the LED, which gives such stark on-off cycle.

    I waited many, many years for a 'good' looking wheel that would actually fit right. The offset on the 05-14 Mustangs is what finally did it to get these.

    The title of my project is 17 years and counting, this month it will now be 22 years and counting, so when you have a 'toy' this long, you get to work on a lot of little details.
    Ted
    86 SVO Mustang
    17 Cooper S Clubman ALL4

  12. #12
    OVER-BOOST!! svono50's Avatar
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    Walbro 255LPH High Pressure Fuel Pump w/Fuel gauge sending unit #1

    • The fuel pump portion is almost a ‘normal’ kind of upgrade on most SVO’s and the gauge sending units are a likely maintenance need. Since I was dropping the tank, I figured I would replace most everything that required dropping the tank. Do it once and be done I say.

    • I actually upgraded from a 155lph Walbro pump to a 255lph Walbro high pressure pump during this exercise in spring 2009. I had installed the 155lph unit back in 1993 and it was working fine, but I had concerns about the condition of the 23 year old fuel pump sending unit the pump was attached to. I located a Spectra Premium brand fuel pump sending unit (#FG30A) from an Ebay vendor, the 255lph HP pump from APE and the lock ring and seal from Latemodel Restoration Supply. The first thing I noticed about the Spectra unit was that the supply/return hard line nipples where the hoses slide on were swaged down in diameter to create a smooth radius for the hose connector o-rings to slide over. They seemed a bit over swaged and I felt the small diameter would cause a restriction in the system, not what I wanted. I don’t have the specific numbers noted down, but seem to remember that the 1/4” supply line’s hole was less than 3/16” and the 3/16” return line was less than 1/8”. I drilled out the swaged tips to the full inner diameter of the unit’s rigid tubing and still had a smooth tip on the tubes to keep from damaging the fuel line o-rings. I flushed out all the metal chips from the lines and moved on to mounting the pump. The pump bolted into the new sending unit frame, but the frame did need a little ‘tweaking’ of the side flanges to hold the pump body tight and not let it rattle around in the units flanges. I then aligned the pump so the pre-formed rubber line sat as molded without any kinks or stress and snugged up the hose clamps. Then I connected up the pump’s electrical harness and butt spliced the wires to the sending unit’s wires. I held off pushing on the pump’s sock filter till I pulled the installed unit out of the tank to ensure I had it on in the right orientation. Now it was time to drop my tank to get access to the pump and gauge sending units. I would suggest getting your tank to 1/2 full or less to do this w/o spilling gas all over your garage. Be VERY CAREFUL around your open tank, gas fumes are HIGHLY FLAMABLE, so you don’t want to cause any sparks or spill the gas as you could do serious injury or kill yourself during this part of the upgrade!! With that said you may want to consider having an extra set of hands to assist you with the removal of the tank. I removed my tank, both times, by myself but with the use of a floor jack and some cargo straps to act as a second set of hands. Start by getting the car up in the air and stable. Then hook up the cargo straps under the tank next to the tank support straps and place your jack as necessary. Now unscrew the fuel filler neck screws inside your fuel filler door and also unscrew the filler neck strap from the tank flange, so it can move around and slide out of the tank. Unscrew the tank support straps and remove. I moved the cargo straps into the grooves of the tank straps to help keep them from sliding and disconnected the tank’s harness plug. Now start SLOWLY lowering the tank by loosening the cargo straps one at a time and going back and forth between the two. You will need to lower the driver’s side of the tank more than the passenger side till you slide the filler neck out of the tank. Once you get enough clearance on top of the tank, disconnect the evaporative vent line from the chassis hard line, disconnect the fuel supply and return lines from the tank’s sending unit, make sure you have some paper towels or rags handy to soak up the fuel that will come out. I also tied the loose lines up to the filler neck retaining strap to keep them from draining additional fuel from the system. Now that the tank is free from everything lower it all the way to the ground and stuff something in the fuel filler neck hole of the tank to reduce the amount of fumes, I found a foam stress ball worked nicely. Next I scraped, cleaned and vacuumed all the crud that had accumulated on top of the sending units to prevent if from falling into my tank when I pulled them out and disconnected the two harnesses. I also sprayed some WD-40 on the locking rings to free up any rust that might prevent them from turning. Using a brass punch/drift I slowly tapped away at the locking rings till they were almost free and hit the pockets with the vacuum again as a lot of rust dust broke loose during the tapping. I pulled the pump sending unit out carefully to keep the pump sock on and noted its orientation. I had to do some additional cleaning in the sending unit pocket to get the rest of the crud out. I pressed on the new pump’s sock filter, placed the new o-ring on the tank, dropped in the new unit, locked it in place with the new locking ring and snapped the harness plug on. I then pulled and replaced my fuel gauge sending unit in the same manner. One note, the locking rings from LRS required a slight amount of grinding on their outer diameter, because they were bigger than my tank’s ring inner diameters. Strange, but workable. I then re-installed the tank in the reverse steps of pulling it out. I was able to hoist the tank back in place using the cargo straps, which worked really nicely and really kept the tank nice and stable, yet allowed it to move while I had to manipulate it to get the filler neck back into the tank.

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    Ted
    86 SVO Mustang
    17 Cooper S Clubman ALL4

  13. #13
    OVER-BOOST!! svono50's Avatar
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    Walbro 255LPH High Pressure Fuel Pump w/Fuel gauge sending unit #2

    • The fuel gauge sending unit from LRS (#LRS-9275A) was labeled and ink stamped with Ford numbers (E3ZF-9275-CA/07-18-06/E3ZF AA), but I am not sure if was an OEM or aftermarket piece. So far it is still working just fine, so I am not worried about it. It is nice to have a working fuel gauge rather than watching my odometer and figuring out about how much fuel I might have left. My gauge would work fine from full to 1/2 tank, then things would go wacky where it would show ~3/8 tank then suddenly drop to below E…not good on highway road trips to and from the Reunions, let me tell you. Luckily I never ran out of fuel, but one Reunion fill up I did hit 15.3 gallons on our 15.4 gallon tank…WHEW!

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    • At the same time I also replaced the fuel filter, while I was under the car and already smelled like fuel. I would suggest replacing yours at the same time, especially if it has been a while since you threw one in. Good luck on your tank adventures.
    Ted
    86 SVO Mustang
    17 Cooper S Clubman ALL4

  14. #14
    OVER-BOOST!! svono50's Avatar
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    SVO's: 86 1C

    Kirban Adjustable Fuel Pressure Regulator

    • If you plan on starting to push up to the 300hp level with your SVO, this one is a must modification to keep things ‘safe’ from a fuel supply on top of the 255lph pump upgrade. I was able to put down 252rwhp/298rwtq with the stock regulator and 155lph pump, but the wide band at the dyno showed I was running out of fuel on the top end of the rpm band. I had no easy way to increase my fuel w/o an adjustable regulator. Many years ago I purchased/installed a Paxton adjustable regulator, but apparently those regulators were not designed for anything much over 12psi and I ended up with a fairly expensive paper weight out of it. This time around I went with a tried and true regulator that has been on the market for some time now, a Kirban unit. The unit is a quality piece and best of all it is rebuildable, unlike my previous piece. The only part about the unit that I did not like was the fact it came with regular carbon steel screws, rather than something that might hold up a bit better in the cosmetic department. I swapped out the body screws/washers for blue anodized aluminum screws and plain aluminum split lock washers to snaz up its look a bit and avoid any rusting of the original units. I chose stainless steel screw/washers for the fuel rail mounting screws, since there are less mounting screws than on the body and I wanted to ensure I wouldn’t have any strength issues.

    • The swap is very straight forward for this, but you still need to pay attention to details as you are working with gasoline filled components here. Start by depressurizing the fuel system by the following steps; 1) Remove your gas cap from the filler neck, 2) Connect a vacuum pump to your stock regulator’s vacuum port and apply some vacuum, which will allow any built up pressure before the regulator bleed back to the tank and 3) Locate the Schrader valve on the fuel lines by the firewall, cup or support with an absorbent rag and carefully depress the Schrader valve pin to make sure the system’s pressure is bleed off (be VERY CAREFUL with this step). An alternate method is to disconnect your fuel pump relay under the driver’s seat, start the car and let it stall out by using up the fuel in the lines, again checking for pressure with the Schrader valve as noted above. Disconnect the vacuum line from the stock regulator and anything else that may get in the way of your Allen wrench for unscrewing the regulator mounting screws. I disconnected my spark plug wires, PCV valve line and also the front two fuel injector harness plugs. Place something absorbent under the regulator and remove the regulator’s mounting screws. Don’t be surprised when some fuel comes out of the regulator, this is normal and it can only hold a limited amount. Next make sure the stock regulator gasket is not left behind on the manifold, then place your new Kirban unit on manifold mounting plate and install the mounting screws and lock washers making sure they are tight. Go ahead and re-attach everything you moved out of the way, connect the vacuum line to the regulator port and make sure you loosen the adjustment rod’s lock nut. Cycle the ignition key 3-4x to build the system’s pressure and fill the new regulator. Look around the regulator to ensure you don’t have any fuel leaking! Check to see what pressure you are getting (you have a pressure gauge, right!?!) and adjust up/down to the stock regulator’s pressure. Now start the car and adjust the pressure to where you want it and tighten down the locknut. When you set your base fuel pressure, you need to disconnect and plug the vacuum line from the intake to get a consistent reliable base pressure reading. If you need more fuel, start by bumping up the pressure in 2-3psi increments and go from there. Good luck.

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    Ted
    86 SVO Mustang
    17 Cooper S Clubman ALL4

  15. #15
    OVER-BOOST!! svono50's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Streamwood, IL
    Posts
    3,926
    SVO's: 86 1C

    Koni Rear Shock Replacements

    • This was a fairly straight-forward replacement project. Nothing too fancy, but well worth it once you get the new shocks dialed in (more on that later).

    • Here is my suggested method of replacement. Start by getting the rear of the car up in the air and support the car under the rear frame rails (i.e.- let the rear axle hang) with a good set of jackstands and don’t forget to chock the front tires in both directions. You don’t want to raise it too high, since you will need to get to the top of the shocks inside the rear hatch. Remove the rear wheels for more working room/clearance. Next remove the quad shocks from their mounts if you are replacing them as well (not a bad idea while you are there), otherwise you can leave the in place. Now move onto the main shocks by placing your jack under the rear carrier of the axle and bring it up just till you take some tension off of the shocks, since they are limiting how far you axle will droop. Now move to the inside of the hatch and remove the covers over the shock tops. Place a deep well socket onto the top mounting nut with a 6” extension or so to the ratchet handle. Try loosening the nut, but check to see if the shock top is spinning. You can generally hold the body with one hand and work the ratchet with the other till the nut comes off the stud and remove the washer and bushing as well. If your shocks are as worn as mine were, the top will slowly self-compress downward, if not it should stay sticking up into the shock tower. Now you can loosen/remove the lower mounting screw/nut and pull the old shock out. I also suggest doing one side at a time, so you have the other side as a reference.

    • Now the new Koni quad shocks are not adjustable, just plug-n-play, but the Koni rear shocks are actually adjustable. Unfortunately not as easily adjustable as the front struts. To adjust the rears it is easiest to do with them off the car where you can exert enough pressure to compress them to engage the adjustment detent. I place the top end down on a piece of wood, so you don’t damage the mounting stud’s tip or threads, and press down on the bottom mounting flange till you fully compress the shock. Slowly turn the bottom section clockwise, while preventing the top section from turning, till you feel the body drop into the adjustment detent. Turn it till you feel it stop, then back it off to your final setting. The total adjustment range is something like 3-4 turns, which is less than the fronts. Going full stiff with the new units will feel like you just put in a solid bar for shocks, trust me, I tried it and just about lost a filling on a test ride. My suggested setting is based on my personal preference and trial experience, so you may have a more preferred setting. My original setting was 1/2 turn off full soft. During a couple open track events I noticed the usual heavy brake dust on the front wheels and my rears were almost completely clean. I also had the usual Fox tail in the air under hard straight line braking. Talking to a couple of Fox body track guys, they suggested stiffening up the rear shocks, so I tried it. I found that setting it to ~1/4-1/2 turn off full stiff allowed for a fairly compliant street ride along with a much better balanced braking behavior during my open track events. Moving to this setting put a LOT more brake dust on the rear wheels, which means that the rear brakes were able to do more work under hard braking and I noticed the rear seemed much less squirrelly approaching the corners, which helped me go into the corners much more settled and with more speed (hurray!).

    • Install is pretty much the reverse of the removal noted above. It may take a few blocks of driving to get the shocks to settle in and the rear to settle down to normal ride height, but you will be very happy with the results. I should have not waited till I hit 100K miles to put my new rears on. I replaced the front struts @ ~70K miles and one of them was completely shot, so consider that for your car…it may be time. Good luck with your project.

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    Ted
    86 SVO Mustang
    17 Cooper S Clubman ALL4

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